Design. Build. Repeat. While the standardized approach to data centers has gained industry popularity, a one-size-fits-all outlook is not always practical for every data center application. In reality, modularity doesn’t uniformly work because data centers are certainly not standardized themselves. You can’t group all data center customers into a common bucket and expect them to have the same requirements. One size does not fit all. Every data center has unique needs: specific power and cooling capacity, footprint constraints, time and capital issues, flexibility, and scalability requirements.
Data center design managers are well-versed in the fundamentals of a strong architecture using the building blocks of site location, floor layout, electrical and mechanical system design, and product selection. As each data center is built, critical knowledge is gained that can be applied to subsequent projects.
However, special consideration needs to be taken when a gap in product offerings is found and a customized solution is required. Faced with requests to meet unique requirements, suppliers may state that it is not part of their offering if they don’t carry a specific product or the request seems overtly challenging.
Focusing on customization allows suppliers to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers by proactively working together to fulfill their requests. Some customers might require a slight alteration or simple substitution, while others seek more complex customized solutions. Demonstrating the ability to be flexible with a customer’s needs strengthens the existing relationship and provides an added benefit for data centers. When a supplier is flexible with their offerings, then the data center can be flexible with their customers.
Customers need to weigh their options carefully and evaluate the offer, price, and availability. Certain influencing factors determine whether a customization project ultimately is beneficial for both the supplier and the data center. The most important of these factors is whether the product is a standalone or integral to the whole system. The customer gains a further benefit as the customized solution becomes repeatable.
Time is another influencing factor. Every engineering project with customization adds lead time, so it is important to weigh the options of availability and time. However, by utilizing the right technical resources and leveraging existing relationships, project turn-around time can be dramatically reduced. You can create inherent flexibility in the design, engineering, testing, and manufacturing processes.
It is important that customizations are viewed beyond a one-time implementation. The ROI might not be immediate because the new products or modifications developed could impact prospective business opportunities. As solutions become repeatable, you can simplify the offer, eliminate errors, and reduce the lead time.
Adopting customization flexibility keeps existing customers satisfied with innovative products and opens the door to future business with repeatable solutions. By keeping the pulse of the customer, customization can be viewed as a tool to anticipate the needs of clients and react to the market with greater speed and agility.